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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Last Minute Changes / News

Sunset this Sunday (17th) is at 4.09pm, with light for walking until 4.40pm. It is useful to bring a torch on walks between now and the end of the year in case you don’t finish the walk in time.

This is it: the final phase of leaf fall: colours are now at their best: see Nature Blog

Plans afoot for Scotland 2019 (see below).

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Scotland 2019.....Achnasheen

The 2019 annual SWC Scottish trip will be to Glencarron near the small village of Achnasheen in Wester Ross on the western edge of the Highlands about an hour from Inverness. It will run from Saturday 25 May to Saturday 1 June 2019.  For more information, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Saturday walk - Hassocks to Brighton

Length: 22.5km (14 miles), but this includes a walk along Brighton seafront and up to the station which can be done by bus. To "civilisation" in Brighton (the start of Kemp Town Racecourse, after which you could walk entirely on illuminated roads) is 18.4km (11.4 miles). A shorter ending at Falmer also possible after 12.5km (7.8 miles)

Toughness: 7 out of 10: a big hill climb or two, but actually mostly not that tough

9.25 train from Victoria (9.32 Clapham Junction, 9.41 East Croydon) to Hassocks, arriving 10.20. T=3.50

Buy a day return to Brighton.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I have had a special request for this walk, which we have done before at this time of year without problems. See above for a breakdown of the length, which is not as long as it looks. This is a breezy walk over the South Downs, first approaching them on the flat, then climbing up onto the escarpment and then crossing their middle to arrive unexpectedly in the very heart of Brighton via Kemp Town Racecourse.

Chalk downland paths can be a bit slippery if it has been wet: watch out for that.

The Swan Inn in Falmer makes a reasonable lunch stop. Earlier in Stamner Park there is a nice and popular cafe. Between you cross the Brighton University campus, a slightly surreal experience after the wilds of the downs. In Brighton tea options are everywhere, but Google the location of the Mock Turtle Tea Shop for a special treat.

Trains back from Brighton: oodles of them: you can just turn up and go. Trains from Falmer to Brighton go every ten minutes and take ten minutes.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Wednesday Walk - Map-led but easy to follow: The start of the Greensand Way (in reverse): Witley to Haslemere

Length: 17.2 km (10.7 mi) [18.2 km if going to the lunch pub]
Ascent/Descent: 282/333m; Net Walking Time: 4 - 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 4/10

Take the 10.15 Haslemere train from Waterloo (10.22 CJ, 10.43 Woking), arrives Witley 11.09.
Return trains from Haslemere are on xx.02, xx.15, xx.32, journey time from 52 mins.

This walk is one of 11 stages of the Greensand Way - a waymarked long-distance path in the Southeast of England. This is the first section of it, but for logistical reasons, it is posted in reverse, as Haslemere is a better place to finish, having pubs, tea rooms, and more frequent trains.
The walk starts gently over open agricultural land, and crosses the A3 to Thursley. Its St. Michael and All Angels church is worth a visit. There are some benches with a lovely view in the churchyard (a good picnic spot). A nearby grave has a poignant 'husband died 1917 wife died 1980' epitaph. Lunch is in The Three Horseshoes, a gastro-pub with a nice beer garden, just off the route, north of the church.
After lunch you climb a peaceful spur to Gibbet Hill (272m), with dramatic views into Devil's Punch Bowl. The area was once notorious for highwaymen. In 1786, a sailor (buried in Thursley's church, and commemorated by the Sailor's Stone) was robbed and murdered after drinking at a pub in Thursley. The three murderers were caught and hung here. After the summit, the walk follows the rim of Devil’s Punch Bowl to Hindhead (NT visitor centre and café, pub). Finally, it’s down the south side of the hill into Haslemere. The centre has some nice old buildings, tea rooms, and a Wetherspoon’s. The station is about 10 mins walk away.

Lunch: The Three Horseshoes in Thursley  (500m off-route, after 11.4 km/7.1 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: Lots of choice in and around Haslemere’s High Street, including Darnley’s and Hemingway’s Cafés, plus The Station House, opposite the railway station.

For summary, map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.145

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Evening walk

CW2 1c Monks Risborough to Wendover
Distance: 6km
Length: 9.7km (6 miles)

Catch the 17:53 train from London Marylebone, arrives Monks Risborough 18:45. Return trains from Wendover: 21:23, 21:53, 22:53.

Will end walk with a drink / meal at Shouder of Mutton PH Wendover, food served until 22:00.


Saturday, 24 November 2018

Saturday Walk – An alternative Otford Circular

Extra Walk 290 – Otford Circular, via Shoreham
Length: 14 km (8.7 miles), with shorter afternoon options. Toughness: Up to 5/10

10:25 Canterbury West train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:42), arriving Otford at 10:58.

This is the fastest route, but if it's more convenient the 09:46 Sevenoaks service from Blackfriars calls at lots of stations in south London and reaches Otford at 10:48. A third way is to travel out via Sevenoaks; if you get there in time for the 10:52 back towards Blackfriars you'll get to Otford at almost the same time as the Victoria train. A return to Otford is valid on all these routes.

The direct fast trains back to Victoria are at xx:26 & xx:56, the slower ones to Blackfriars three minutes later. If you want to return via Sevenoaks, those are at xx:18 & xx:48.

This is a variation on the familiar Otford Circular from Book 1, with a shorter morning around the steep-sided hills on the eastern side of the Darent valley and a longer afternoon exploring those on the other side. Like the original it packs a fair amount of climbing into its short length, but there are a couple of shorter options in the afternoon if you want something a little less strenuous.

You should be able to squeeze into one of Shoreham's four pubs for lunch, and to round off the day Otford has two tearooms as well as its pubs. If you're interested in trying some English wine the walk route passes The Mount Vineyard in Shoreham, but they don't seem to be offering free tastings this year.

You'll need to bring the walk directions from the Otford Circular via Shoreham walk page.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Wednesday Walk Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard - Back Wood, Great Brickhill, the Greensand Ridge and River Ouzel

Book 1, Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

Length: 14.7 km (9.1 Miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

London Euston:  10-13 hrs   Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs  Change trains
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs    Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs

Or (suggested for senior railcard holders)
London Euston: 09-49 hrs   Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-23 hrs   Change trains, then have a coffee in the station foyer caff
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs   Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill:   11-08 hrs

Having missed the connection at Bletchley at least twice in recent years due to the late running of the Euston service, these days I always take the earlier train.  But if you take the later train all is not lost if you miss the connection at Bletchley as the taxi fare to Bow Brickhill station will not break the bank. However, if you are one of SWC's cheepos unwilling to contribute to the taxi fare, best not start your walk at Bletchley station as routes out of town are mighty dull.

ReturnLeighton Buzzard to Euston: (F) = fast service:  15-59, 16-34, 16-53(F), 16-59, 17-33(F), 17-59, 18-33, 18-53(F)

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Bow Brickhill

This is a late autumn favourite walk of mine between Bucks and Beds as often the woods (particularly the oak woods after lunch) can still be a blaze of colour.

Paths in Back Wood at the start of the walk are gradually recovering from horrendous damage caused by forestry operations two years ago. Your way is now navigable, albeit it can be muddy in places. Then you enjoy legs through the less muddy Buttermilk Wood and Duncombe Wood before you pass through a farm then out onto roads which descend to Great Brickhill, where you stop for lunch at the Old Red Lion, which seldom disappoints. If the weather temperature permits, the outdoor seating area is pleasant with nice views. Indoor seating near the bar is cosy and there is also a restaurant area. If more than four of you wish to dine it's best to 'phone ahead with numbers: your e.t.a is 12-55 hrs. Tel: 01525-261715.

After lunch you follow Greensand Ridge marker discs through oak woods, passing signs to Rushmere Park. Your way descends to Rushmere House, then you follow a bank in woodland, to go up a field before dropping down to follow a broad track with the River Ouzel down below you on your right. At Corbetts Hill Farm the main route takes you down to water meadows, which in winter can be water logged. Should this be the case, an alternative, dry route is shown in the Directions. Otherwise you cross the meadows and arrive beside the Grand Union Canal. Your come to your tea stop, the Globe Inn on your left. After tea you enjoy a relaxing stroll beside the canal for a mile plus before you arrive in the centre of Leighton Buzzard. The walk to the railway station does not excite, but this is the only dull bit on the entire walk.
Walk Directions here: L=1.41

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sunday Walk: Tring Circular or Tring to Berkhamsted

Book 2 walk 5
Tring circular: long: 10.1 miles or short (omitting lunch pub): 8.3 miles.
Tring to Berkhamsted (omitting lunch pub): 17.6 km, 10.6 miles.
Difficulty: 5/10
This walk’s got trees (hopefully autumnal), it’s got views, and it’s got an easy journey. The basic circular walk includes a proper pub stop. The more adventurous of you could take a more sylvan route, no doubt dripping with autumn colours, through Ashridge to Berkhamsted. With daylight being short, that option would involve a shortcut, bypassing the pub and stopping at the NT café for lunch. The same shortcut could also be used as part of a shorter circular walk. Your choice.
"Sylvan" eh? ..... how often do you see words like that on these pages?
Get the 10:01 Northampton train from Euston arriving Tring 10:36. Get a return to Tring.
Return trains from Tring at xx:14 and xx:35
Return trains from Berkhamsted at xx:19 and xx:40
Directions here 
Options: After Ivinghoe Beacon [4], the main walk takes you via the lunch pub in Little Gaddesden but you can take a shorter route (option a) to the Bridgewater Monument and its cafe. From there you can either continue through Ashridge to Berkhamsted (option b) or, if Mr Sun is looking for his pyjamas, follow the circular walk back to Tring.
If you're doing the main walk, your lunch stop is the Bridgewater Arms 01442 842408 in Little Gaddesden
If you're deploying the short cut, lunch is at the National Trust's Brownlow Cafe near the Bridgewater Monument (or you could descend to Aldbury for its two pubs).
If doing  the Main walk, you could stop at Brownlow Cafe or the Aldbury pubs.
If finishing in Berko, you'll find tea places in Berkhamsted High Street, e.g. two Costas and a House of High Tea at no. 61. A shortish walk east from the station along the canal takes you to at least two real ale pubs, the Crystal Palace 01442 862998 and the Boat 01442 877152. The pubs are shown on this unfortunately shaped map.
There are no tea options near Tring station.

Sunday Walk: Stonegate to Robertsbridge

SWC walk 112:
13.7 km (8.5 miles) Difficulty 4/10
With gentle hills, classic woods and tranquil valleys, this walk's attractions include the unspoiled village of Burwash for lunch. The churchyard there offers a sombre reminder of darker days: skull-and-crossbone tombstones marking the graves of executed smugglers. After lunch, you head towards Robertsbridge, along a beautiful route, which climbs up onto a ridge, follows it with fine views to the north, and then descends with panoramic views directly into the heart of Robertsbridge.
Trains Take the 09:36 Robertsbridge train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 9:45) arriving Stonegate at 11:01.  Get a return to Robertsbridge. Trains return from Robertsbridge at xx:21 and xx:51.
Lunch: The Rose and Crown, Burwash (01435-882600) serves pub food from 12 to 3:00pm. It is west down the High Street from the church. The Bear Inn (01435-882260), is 90 metres further.
Bateman's, once the home of Rudyard Kipling, is a short detour shortly after Burwash. It can also act as a lunch venue or early tea-stop but only after paying the entry fee. (NT members free).
Tea: The Ostrich (01580-881737), close to Robertsbridge station, is conveniently placed to act as your afternoon tea/beer/gin stop.
Directions can be found here.
Anyone wanting a longer walk could substitute the morning of Stonegate Circular (Book 2 Walk 19) to increase the distance to 16.4 km (10.2 miles). Just don't go bragging about it.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Saturday Walk: Borough Green to Sevenoaks

9.3 miles/15 km
Toughness: 4 out of 10

The village of Plaxtol, Fairlawne House parklands, Ightham Mote, Knole Park.

Trains: 9:55 London Victoria (10:12 Bromley South), arriving at Borough Green at 10:40.  Return trains from Sevenoaks are frequent.  The stations are on different lines, but a day return to Borough Green is valid for Sevenoaks.

Lunch: The walk route passes the National Trust café at Ightham Mote.  A diversion will take you to the Chaser Inn at Shipbourne (Tel 01732 810360).

Click here for full details and directions


Saturday Short - Gerrards Cross to Cookham

This weeks "shortie" is Gerrards Cross to Cookham where hopefully the autumn splendour of Burnham Beeches will be on show.

The afternoon section shares the route with Walker's Langley to Cookham walk (also posted this week), so there will be an opportunity to hook up with other SWC walkers there.

Length: 9.6 miles (15.4km)
Toughness: 2/10

Catch the 10:13 train from London Marylebone to Aylesbury, arriving at Gerrards Cross 10:36

Tickets: You will need to buy two singles, Marylebone to Gerrards Cross and Cookham to Paddington

Lunch: The suggested lunch stop is  The Jolly Woodman on Littleworth Common t: 01753 644350. This appears to be under new management (Mitch and Matt) with Real Ales and a revamped website. I'd suggest calling before starting the walk to ensure they will be able to provide you lunch.

Tea: There are two pubs and a deli in Cookham where it's a further 1km to Cookham Station (allow 20 minutes) where there is a Costa and Countrystore (Budgen) supermarket nearby.

Full walk directions are here.

Download a GPX file here.

Trains back from Cookham are every hour at 21 minutes past the hour. You'll need to change trains at Maidenhead with a final destination of Paddington -  journey time just under an hour. Trains from Maidenhead stop at Ealing Broadway.


Saturday walk - Langley to Cookham - Berkshire beech woods

Length: 22km (13.7 miles) **
Toughness: 3 out of 10: I don't remember a lot of hills...

9.27 train from Paddington (9.35 Ealing Broadway) to Langley, arriving 9.52

Buy a day return to Cookham.

For more details of the walk click here. For GPX click here.

This subset of the West Drayton to Cookham walk was done with great success in March 2017 and passes through lovely territory mixing fine beech woods with more open sections. If there is still autumn leaf colour, this ought to be a good place to see it.

I realise that even this shortened version is still quite a long walk for a short day, but we are going to be making an early start and there is a slightly more than half moon today, which would illuminate the final stages a bit if the night is clear. (If the night is really clear some of us may even do a further moonlight walk along the Thames from Cookham).

Further detracting from its charms for some of you, it is another map-led walk, meaning you will be relying on the GPX file or being very nice to someone who has downloaded it or printing off the map on our website or using Explorer map 172. However, you are also on the waymarked Beeches Way for much of the route and last time we found the route fairly easy to follow. For the last three miles you are on the route of the book 1 Gerrard's Cross to Cookham walk.

You start by following the red route on the GPX up from Langley station, which soon joins the main green route.

There are lots of refreshment options. Just a mile or two into the walk, between Langley Park and Fulmer, there is a large cafe overlooking a lake, while in Fulmer there is a nice pub (where we ate last time) with another a little further on in Farnham Common. Farnham Common also has a Costa Coffee and two supermarkets and just beyond it there was a cafe in a forest-edge car park last time we did the walk. Later in the walk the Blackwood Arms in Littleworth Common might make a drinks stop, but you will probably want to push on at this stage to Cookham, which has three pubs and a Costa Coffee just beyond the station level crossing, open till 6.30pm

Trains back from Cookham are at 21 past the hour

** shorter ending is possible to Burnham station, which several walkers did on the last outing, though this really is map-led: ie you have to work out your own route on the map, cutting south through the woods after Farnham Common and then follow Crow Piece Lane. Looking at the map this does not really look much shorter anyway. T=3.189

Robertsbridge to Stonegate

SWC 222b Robertsbridge to Stonegate
Length: 18.5 km (11.5 miles). Toughness: 3/10

Catch the 9:15 from London Charing Cross (calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge) arrives Robertsbridge 10:34. Return xx:23 until 22:23, plus 17:53, 18:53. Buy a day return to Robertsbridge.

Longer walk option 222c Robertsbridge to Battle via Brown Bread Street. 34.5km (21.4 miles). Buy a day return to Battle.

There is also a Stonegate to Robertsbridge walk 112 on Sunday 18th. Reverse route overlap for 3km or so from/to Robertsbridge, after which the routes are quite different. Route comparison map here. So any walker who wants to make a weekend of it could link these two walks and stay overnight in the Stonegate area.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Wednesday Walk - Haslemere to Midhurst via Temple of the Winds & Henley (Short Version)

Length: 19.3 km (12.0 mi)
Ascent/Descent: approx. 400/514m; Net Walking Time: 4 ¾ - 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 7/10

Take the 10.00 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (10.25 Woking, 10.34 G’ford), arrives Haslemere 10.49. From Clapham J take the 09.52  stopping service (arrives H’mere 10.45).
Return to Haslemere from Midhurst by bus number 70 (xx.05, then 19.10, journey time 25 mins).
Return trains from Haslemere are on xx.02, xx.15, xx.32, journey time from 52 mins.

From the medieval town well in Haslemere to the stocks and pillory in Midhurst, this walk is a journey partially in the footsteps of a poet. It gently climbs the highest point in Sussex (the Black Down), and then drops steeply to traverse a valley along a roller coaster of a path through some light woods before entering more thickly planted pine forests, allegedly haunted by the ghost of the last wild bear killed in England. After lunch in the idyllic hamlet of Henley at a pub boasting views back to the Temple of the Winds, the route again gently climbs a second hill offering stunning views back across your journey of the morning before a long descent into Midhurst across the Cowdray Estate with the mighty South Downs ahead, passing by the intriguing ruins of Cowdray House en route where various historic figures of note were either voluntary visitors or held captive prior to execution.
Note: the last few km may have to be negotiated in darkness, but it’s along car wide gravel tracks through the Cowdray Estate, so shan’t be a problem.

Lunch: The Duke of Cumberland Arms in Henley (12.8 km/8.0 mi, food to 14.30), or The Kings Arms  a little earlier on a 1 km diversion (11.9 km/7.4 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: lots of choice in Midhurst (see the pdf for details), recommended are Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe (2 km from the end), Garton’s Coffee House, The Wheatsheaf, The Angel Inn, The Olive & Vine and Fitzcane’s.

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.263.c